Today, co-leader of the opposition, Cllr John Allcock has called on the Green Council to get round the table with the GMB and resolve the current dispute that has led to 14 days of strike action.

The Labour Group are concerned about the impact on residents who have already been experiencing months of problems with irregular collections of rubbish and recycling, for which a whole variety of reasons have been given. Residents are exasperated as a long-term solution to the rubbish and recycling crisis hasn’t been forthcoming. And now, to cap it all, residents will suffer with two weeks of rubbish and recycling piling up in their streets.

Labour Councillors recognise that strikes are an action of last resort, when employees feel they are not being listened to, and issues they are raising are not being resolved.

The last Labour administration avoided industrial action by keeping lines of communication open and working hard with both unions and managers to find solutions. This included bringing in ACAS and a senior industrial relations expert that was respected by both parties involved in the dispute. When Labour left office there was a clear path to a long-term solution, and we are disappointed that this plan seems to have been abandoned.

Today, Labour have again called upon the Green Council to get back around the table with the GMB and bring in the necessary senior level expertise, a skilled negotiator, to support good relations with unions and workers.

Cllr John Allcock, co-leader of the opposition:

“I’m calling on the Council to step up and tackle the rubbish and recycling crisis head on. Hire the industrial relations officer and get round the table with the GMB. That’s what our residents expect and deserve. ‘Toughing it out’ is not an effective way to resolve any industrial dispute.

“I’m bitterly disappointed on behalf of residents across the City that they now face two weeks of rubbish and recycling piling up on the streets. What’s most frustrating is that we have been calling for the Council to hire a senior industrial relations officer for a long time now, and we’re still not seeing action. Clearly, the Council needs a skilled negotiator to resolve these complex disputes and improve relations with unions and workers.”

Today, Labour leader Cllr John Allcock and environment spokesperson Cllr Gary Wilkinson urgently met with the GMB to hear their concerns. Labour has also today written to the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive and the GMB to facilitate a meeting as soon as possible in order to resolve this crisis. We stand ready to help.

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